Category: BeFriending Creation

QEW’s quarterly newsletter

  • Hands working at computer laptop

    Congress, Climate, & the Desktop Lobbyist

    By Bob Schultz. THE U.S. CONGRESS MAY BE one of the most foot-dragging institutions on the planet with respect to addressing climate disruption, yet we can find some hope in the emergence of the House Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives that meets regularly to advance climate…

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  • A NSNP Youth Saves Seed from Cilantro Plants

    Praying on Seeds: Solidarity for Puerto Rican Sovereignty

    By Marian Dalke. SUNDAY MORNING’s soft light casts through deep wooden windows. The light shifts and picks up the soft cotton of milkweed seeds, sailing over the heads of those gathered for Quaker Meeting for Worship at Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting. Grace Gonglewski shares a message about “praying on seeds,”…

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  • Photo of sticks in water

    The Small Water Cycle & Global Warming

    By Christopher Haines. WHEN JIMMY CARTER ASKED scientist Charles Keeling for advice in 1978 on what the government should do about climate change, Keeling said that the problem was far too complicated for people to understand, so focus on greenhouse emissions. Since then, reducing greenhouse emissions has been the principal…

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  • Photograph of Nathan Baring

    Let the Youth Be Heard: Making the Courts Confront the Climate Crisis

    By Shelley Tanenbaum. YOUNG PEOPLE, who are facing a disturbing future due to increasing climate catastrophes, can often feel like their voices are not heard. Lacking power, influence, and even the right to vote, some youth have turned to the courts. In 2015, 21 youth plaintiffs plus Dr. James Hansen…

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  • Citizens Climate Lobby Logo

    Rapid City Friends Ask Your Meeting to Send a Letter to Congress

    By Rapid City Friends and Rapid City chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby Rapid City Friends, an unaffiliated worship group in Rapid City, South Dakota, in conjunction with the local chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, has taken action as a community:  As Quakers, we are called to work for the peaceable…

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  • Shelley giving a mock presentation about QEW to Yearly Meeting Representatives

    Engaging in Earthcare at Yearly Meetings

    DO YOU KNOW who is your Yearly Meeting representative to Quaker Earthcare Witness? DO YOU KNOW who is your Yearly Meeting representative to Quaker Earthcare Witness? Our 31 Yearly Meeting Representatives serve as liaisons between QEW and their Yearly Meetings, sharing information about what is on the hearts and minds…

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  • Text of Drawdown book on cloudy sky

    Book Review: The New Green Activist Bible?

    Review Catherine de Neergaard In DRAWDOWN: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, Paul Hawken and his team of scientists have identified the 100 most effective actions to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. They define “drawdown” as “… that point in time when the concentration…

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  • Yellow signs on foloor that say Support, Transform to Put Climate in the Budget. It's urgent

    Toronto Meeting Hosts ClimateFast Initiative

    By Lyn Adamson TORONTO MONTHLY MEETING’S Peace and Social Action Committee has supported the work of ClimateFast, a Canadian climate action group, since its inception in 2012. For the first three years, ClimateFast focused on federal climate action with periods of fasting, a vigil on Parliament Hill, and a pledge…

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  • Beverly Ward Collecting Tidewater Sample

    Rising Together: Community Health Mapping in South Florida

    By Beverly G. Ward MANY COMMUNITIES in South Florida experience “sunny day” flooding during periods of very high or “king” tides. During a new or full moon, when the sun and the moon are aligned with Earth in their orbits, the gravitational pull on the oceans is at its strongest,…

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  • Group of people writing no leaves under a light

    Adding Leaves to the Grove of Life

    By Regula and Michael Russelle. AN ALL-NIGHT, OUTDOOR EVENT. One thousand passersby publicly claim their practices and promises to reduce climate change. Each attaches a paper leaf with a personal, hand-written testimony like “bicycle everywhere,” “no food waste,” “share housing,” “travel by train” to a branch on a small grove…

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  • Pink sunset clouds above mountains

    Sweet Balance with Earth

    By Ann Marie Klaus. I have to admit, I do not harbor a wish to save Earth or reverse the process she is undergoing. Nor do I worry for her. Earth, in my mind, is a powerful, exquisite being, undergoing the same process of expansion that every bit of the…

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  • Sign with building behind it

    Peace, Justice and Ecology in Arkansas

    By Eric Fuselier. Friends, we are happy to announce that we recently formed a Quaker Earthcare Committee within the monthly meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Members of the committee have a lot of passion and knowledge about the environment and we’re really excited about the projects we have going on here.

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  • Alan Wright in Veracruz

    Spiritual Ecology Center Opens in Mexican Cloud Forest

    By Paula Kline. For more than a decade, my husband and I have hosted high school students for an annual Environmental Leadership Workcamp in the cloud forest of Veracruz, Mexico. A project of Westtown School’s Quaker Leadership Program, students return home transformed by their hands-on experiences with sustainable agriculture, living…

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  • QEW Logo

    40 Quakers With 30 Agendas

    By Tom Small. “FORTY QUAKERS WITH 30 different agendas.” That’s how I characterized—only half-jokingly—the Quaker Earthcare Witness Steering Committee when I was its Clerk from 1996 to 1998. The Friends Committee on Unity with Nature—that’s what we called ourselves back then. So where was the Unity in all those differences?…

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  • The Gift That Keeps on Giving: Updates at Catoctin Quaker Camp

    By Liz Hofmeister. ON SEPTEMBER 30TH, former campers, counselors, and others long associated with Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Catoctin Quaker Camp marked the 60th anniversary of the residential summer camp located some 50 miles west of Baltimore, MD. A highlight of the weekend celebration was the dedication of the camp’s new…

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  • Population: A Controversial Witness

    By Stan Becker. FRIENDS COMMITTEE on Unity with Nature (FCUN) was born in 1987 at the Friends General Conference gathering plenary. There, Marshall Massey outlined all the environmental threats we faced on planet earth. Except he missed one. He did not mention the rapid growth in numbers of our own…

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  • United With Nature: A Historic Reflection on QEW

    By Judy Lumb. In 1987, I was sick in Belize, an isolated Friend. My Meeting for Worship was reading Friends Journal in my hammock. I learned to keep pen and paper handy because my version of speaking in Meeting was to write letters. When the notice of the creation of Friends Committee…

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  • Legislating Light with FCNL

    By Scott Greenler and Emily Wirzba. AT THE FRIENDS COMMITTEE on National Legislation (FCNL), the Quaker testimony of stewardship underpins our climate work. We see human actions inflicting harm to the earth, and as caretakers, or stewards, we are compelled to act. We watch with deep pain as the president…

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  • Sacramento Capitol

    Green in Sacramento

    By Shelley Tanenbaum. I TOOK A DAY OFF from QEW work to join ‘Green Lobby Day’ in my state capital, Sacramento. I highly recommend that you do the same in your state. As much as we want to see strong national legislation, significant government action, at least in the near…

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  • US coins falling out of clear jar on white background

    Money & Soul: Bringing Our Faith Values to the Economy

    By Pamela Haines. TO THEOLOGIAN WALTER WINK, Spirit is at the core of every institution. These institutions, or Powers, are created with the sole purpose of serving the general welfare of people, and when they cease to do so, their spirituality becomes diseased. The task of the church is to…

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  • Potential Surprises

    By Shelley Tanenbaum. A LARGE GULF EXISTS between those who understand the magnitude of the environmental crisis we are facing and those who, willfully or not, remain unaware and disengaged. Just look around your community or your meetinghouse. Most people are not necessarily climate deniers or uncaring about the environment.

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  • Clean Jobs Act Protest

    Organizing for Community and Climate

    By Jaime DeMarco. I RECENTLY HELPED CO-FOUND the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative, a new non-profit working to pass legislation in Maryland that will do three things. It will expand renewable electricity in Maryland to 50% by 2030, invest in renewable energy companies owned by women and people…

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  • Climate Pilgrimage

    Rooted in Reverence: Reflections on the Climate Pilgrimage

    By Honor Woodrow. I AM WRITING TO SHARE a reflection on my experience of the recent Climate Pilgrimage, where Friends from New England and fellow travelers spent six days walking the 60 miles from the Schiller Station (which burns both coal and wood) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to the Merrimack…

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  • International Decade for People of African Descent

    Relocalization Among the Most Marginalized in an “America First” World

    By Pamela Boyce Simms. LET’S KEEP OUR EYES ON THE PRIZE and not be distracted. Let us remain focused, not only on surviving the current U.S. administration, but on building the foundation for thriving in the oil-constrained future on the horizon. Let’s ensure that we cover the basics: access to…

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  • QEW Poetry and Prayer

    May We Rise up From the Earth

    By Julia Bixler Isaacs. May we be grounded with the strength of the earth, May our love for the planet burn bright like fire, May visions of wholeness rise up on wings of air, May our actions flow with the ease of water, And may the dance…

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  • Quaker House

    Ecological Living at Quaker Retirement Community

    By Elizabeth Boardman. PERHAPS, IF WE HAD ASKED THEM, our grandchildren could have told us before we came here to Friends House what benefits we would accrue by moving out of the big family home to a small apartment.  And now we could tell them the advantages of a communal…

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  • Photo of Cynthia Barnettt

    Environmental Author Cynthia Barnett Talks to QEW

    Cynthia Barnett, the author of three books focused on water: Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis, and Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S., shares her insight on climate and water with QEW Publications Coordinator Hayley Hathaway. You now have written…

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  • Denali National Park and Preserve, United States

    Juneau’s Journey Toward Renewable Energy

    By Margo Waring. JUNEAU, ALASKA COULD BE A MODEL for cities across the nation.  A new non-profit called Renewable Juneau is trying to make this happen. Our mission is to “Promote local, renewable energy to create a healthy, prosperous, and low-carbon future for Juneau.” We decided to keep our focus…

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  • Quakers At Interfaith Sit-In on Statehouse Steps in Annapolis

    Friends Help Ban Fracking in Maryland

    By Karie Firoozmand. ON APRIL 4, Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation prohibiting fracking in the state. This is a huge success for the individuals and organizations that have been working together for this goal for several years, as well as a precedent for other states. I have been working…

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  • Photo of Standing Rock encampment by Shelley Tanenbaum

    A Call for More Radical Witness

    By Tom Small. “THERE’S A CALL, from both within and beyond FCUN, for a more radical witness.” That’s the first sentence of an article I wrote twenty years ago for BeFriending Creation. What was true for the Friends Committee on Unity with Nature in 1996 holds true again for the…

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  • QEW Poetry and Prayer

    Earth Prayer

    By Janet Soderberg. Divine Creator, Spirit in All Things, Your kingdom is Here, and Now. Your creativity is manifest everywhere I look on this heavenly Earth. Nourish us Body and Soul in this earthly Paradise. Forgive us for not noticing, for overlooking, the tiny, the subtle, The…

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  • Photo of Andy Burt

    Down to Earth: Interview with Quaker Filmmaker Andy Burt

    “I didn’t set out to make a film,” says Andy Burt, the creator and director of the new documentary film, Down to Earth: Climate Justice Stories. “I set out to go collect stories.  It was young friends who said ‘you should do a video.’ So that’s why you have…

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  • Man holding sign outside of Chase bank

    One Dollar at a Time: Defunding DAPL

    By Jeff Kisling. IN INDIANAPOLIS we have been working on defunding the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) for several months. On November 15, 2016, a crowd of about 200 of us alongside Native Americans in traditional dress marched through downtown Indianapolis with our signs about defunding the pipeline. We stopped in…

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  • Rainbow in green field with blue sky

    Journey to the End

    By J.T. Dorr-Bremme. IN JULY 2009, I had things pretty well figured out. I had, after six years of on-and-off study, achieved a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. I had been hired into a new-graduate program, an increasingly rare opportunity in the post-financial-crisis economy, at a nearby hospital. I…

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  • Advice for These Times

    By Shelley Tanenbaum. TWO OF MY RECENT READS have made a strong impression on me as I ponder how I as an individual and how Quaker Earthcare Witness as an organization can best use our resources in these times. Van Jones succinctly sums up the two opposing world views we…

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  • Map of Indivisible Local Action Groups

    Shock and Awe: Climate Action

    By Bob McGahey. FROM MY PERSPECTIVE as a climate journalist and activist, the ascension of an outright climate denialist as the President, with cabinet choices of a half-dozen more, completes the campaign of disinformation mounted by the fossil fuel industry, aided and abetted by virtually the entire Republican Party. The…

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  • Photo by American Public Power Association on Unsplash

    Solar Soars as Costs Plummet

    By Shelley Tanenbaum. AMIDST THE 2016 END-OF-YEAR bad news all around, you might have missed this: utility-scale solar is now the least expensive way to install new sources of electricity. Onshore wind is a close second. Currently, solar and wind are at just about the same capital cost for installation,…

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  • Group of people listening to talk

    A Field Secretary for Earthcare

    By Brad Stocker, Miami Friends Meeting. FOUR YEARS AGO, the Southeastern Yearly Meeting (SEYM) Earthcare Committee (EcC) brought forth a Minute on Climate Change that was approved the 14th day of the fourth month, 2014, which reads in part: “We, the Friends of Southeastern Yearly Meeting, bring this minute forward…

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  • Book Review: “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate”

    By Tom Small. PETER WOHLLEBEN TELLS THE STORY of a professional forester’s awakening from calculations of board feet to realization of a forest as an intelligent, feeling community. Sharing information and resources through what Wohlleben calls the “wood wide web,” the forest community cooperates so as to ensure that “each…

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  • Photo of Berta Caceres

    Bringing Light to the Dark: Environmental Violence

    By Brad Stocker, Miami Friends Meeting. ONE OF THE MORE POIGNANT things to have affected my earthcare work was 2016’s QEW table and display, which had a darker element than in the past as it focused attention on those who have been killed for their involvement in environmental justice. We…

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  • Hundreds of people with red sign that says "Defend the Sacred"

    Reflections on Standing Rock

    Sacred Stone, Clean Water, Gathering People By Shelley Tanenbaum, QEW General Secretary. The gathering at Standing Rock, with more than 280 indigenous tribes represented, is historic and has been an inspiration to all of us. The ongoing gathering is being held to block construction of the Dakota pipeline that threatens…

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  • Bright green spring flower about to blossom with dew

    Live in Possibility: A Voluntary Carbon Tax

    By Alan Eccleston, Mount Toby Friends Meeting. In meeting for worship four years ago I was meditating on climate change and what I was called to do about it. Words rose up, “I live in possibility,” which I attribute to Emily Dickinson. I had a deep realization this is a…

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  • Photo of light shining in forest

    Reflections on Translating the Resistance in Brazil

    By Meg Kidd. Recognition by QEW of the re-emergent sense of the Divine in light of the resistance at Standing Rock continues to breathe air into the indigenous struggle to share millennial wisdom of peoples throughout the world. Noted on October 3 is this struggle from Standing Rock to Bagua…

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  • Photo of Solar Array above parking lot

    Quakers’ Solar Canopy

    By Don Vessey, San Diego Friends Meeting. America is fast realizing the importance of solar energy. Switching to solar power is not only an environmental necessity, but it makes financial sense as well. It reduces global warming not only by reducing the use of fossil fuels, but potentially in other…

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  • Alaskans Demand Climate Justice and Clean Energy

    Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition’s Next Step

    By Cathy Walling, Chena Ridge Friends Meeting, Fairbanks, AK. “I love to feel where words come from.”  I have long loved that quote from our Quaker heritage story of the indigenous man Papunehang hearing John Woolman preaching. He didn’t know what Woolman was saying, but he knew it was coming…

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  • Ecological Guidance and the Sense of the Divine

    By Keith Helmuth. The fate of the human now hangs on our engagement with ecological guidance; the task Thomas Berry calls “the Great Work.” The sense of guidance provided by the ecological worldview is not unlike a new revelation, perhaps even a new sense of the Divine. We may not…

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  • Reverence and Right Action

    By David Jaber I was not raised Quaker, but instead came to Quakerism after having developed an environmental conscience that has very much shaped my life and how I spend my time. You might take that as one indicator of the compatibility of deep earth ethics with Quaker practice. Let’s…

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  • Buddhists, Friends, and Buddhist-Quaker Harmonic Unity with Nature

    By Pamela Boyce Simms “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars.” “The Cosmos is in us. We are made of star stuff. We are a way for the…

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  • Light Pink Dahlia

    What’s Emerging?

    By Sara Wolcott. What is it that Quakerism contributes to my ecological journey? I am vexed by this question. Five years ago, when my primary sense of religious belonging was nestled deep within the Religious Society of Friends, it would have been easy for me to answer. My confidence that…

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  • Cogs on Blue Background

    A Blueprint for Climate Action

    By Paul Klinkman Friends are encouraged to expand their carbon handprint.  Increasing Friends’ involvement can have considerably more impact on the world’s climate than if they simply shrink their carbon footprint.  I see Friends acting in four somewhat distinct directions: Personal and corporate witness:  Abolitionists wouldn’t own slaves and wouldn’t…

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  • Our Birthright: The Night Sky

    By Shelley Tanenbaum. I’m not one to believe that the universe owes me (or anyone) anything.  But, after spending five nights camping in semi-remote places between Denver and San Francisco, seeing what appeared to be an infinite number of stars and the Milky Way every night, I am moved to…

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  • Six cows

    Friendly Farmers & Earthcare

    By Suzanne Lamborn, Little Britain Monthly Meeting, Baltimore Yearly Meeting My husband and I can trace our roots for each generation from the beginning of the colonies in agriculture. Being farmers we were aware that our nation went from over 90 percent farming to the present 1 percent owning farms…

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  • Picture of Peace Pole

    What I Did with My Summer Vacation

    By Katherine Murray. The last week of June, I took four days off with the intention of enjoying a quiet “staycation” full of gardening, hummingbirds, and long walks with my dogs. I envisioned this break as a time of silent retreat, with plenty of room for relaxing into the quiet…

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  • QEW Poetry and Prayer

    Eternal Journey: A Poem

    By Chris Roe As the crimson flame of life Breaks slowly Above the horizon, The white, frosted meadows, With trees and hedgerows Of sculptured ice, Speak loudly Of your presence. Once more Upon this journey, As another day begins, Without…

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  • Long highway in marsh

    Young Faith Leaders Rising During GreenFaith Convergence in New Orleans

    By Sara Wolcott. Myself and the other 60 young (aged 20-35) faith leaders from across Canada and the United States who were partaking in GreenFaith’s 2016 North American Convergence eagerly peered out of our bus windows as it turned onto the road leading to Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana. We…

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  • People on stage

    Reckoning the “Other”

    By Shelley Tanenbaum. Two dynamic and challenging speakers stood out for me at the 2016 Friends General Conference (FGC) gathering in St. Joseph, Minnesota this July. Nekima Levy-Pounds, law professor and leader of the Black Lives Matter movement, came to us after sitting-in at the Governor’s mansion in the immediate…

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  • Florida from Space

    Later Will Be Too Late / Plus Tard Ce Sera Trop Tard*

    By Shelley Tanenbaum. In December 2015 world leaders committed their countries to significantly change the ways that they are contributing to global climate change, they agreed to share resources to support countries most vulnerable and most in need, and they pledged to increase their commitment every five years. However, the…

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  • Group of cheering people in suits

    Youth and a Landmark Climate Case in Court

    By Shelley Tanenbaum, QEW General Secretary. How often do you hear people complain (or rant, scream, and shout) that the U.S. government is not doing enough about climate change, but they don’t actually do anything about it? Last year, twenty-one young Americans and their famous scientist partner joined together to…

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  • Tree in Altiplano Bolivia

    Mini-Grants in Bolivia and Nicaragua

    Mini Grants in Bolivia By Mary Gilbert   TREES IN THE ALTIPLANO The city of El Alto in Bolivia sits at an elevation of 13,600 feet. Specific native trees can actually grow at that altitude in Bolivia. Ruben Hilare—inspired by what he learned at a UN meeting in Cancun that…

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  • Book Review: Our Life Is Love

    By Judy Lumb. I have admired and been inspired by the writing of Marcelle Martin in Friends Journal, so I was very happy to learn that her book was released. It is a very effective juxtaposition of vignettes from the lives of early Friends and contemporary Friends. She divides the…

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  • Image of QEW Logo and Poetry

    Runway A-K47

    By Marjorie McKelvey Isaacs Through the squarish portal Upright in night-dark grass Stand matrices of most beautiful blue lights Shining at attention, Electric English garden in adoration of my benevolent metal bird.

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  • Group standing with "No Pipeline" Sign

    Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: Against the Mountain Valley Pipeline

    By Vicki Tolbert As a member of the Blacksburg, VA Friends Earthcare Committee reminded us, we have been “thinking globally, acting locally” as we take on a global issue confronting our local area: the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. Appalachia has historically been a target for those…

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  • QEW with Friends World Committee for Consulation in Pisac, Peru

    By Mary Gilbert and Judy Lumb The Friends World Committee on Consultation (FWCC) brought Friends from all over the globe together in a loving and somewhat challenging mix. From January 19-27, 2016, more than 300 of us gathered in Pisac, Peru. Do you wish you had been there?…

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  • Yellow fruit in mesh bag

    Walking Cheerfully Over the Earth: Step by Step to a Greener Lifestyle

    By Marjorie McKelvey Isaacs, Psy.D. FWCC has approved a minute asking everyone to personally make green lifestyle changes. All change, even desired improvements, creates some stress. My psychology clients and I, working together for more healthy lifestyles, discovered research, strategies, and viewpoints that can make change easier. Thanks also to…

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  • Climate Justice—from Katrina to Paris and Back to New Orleans

    By Shelley Tanenbaum. When we talk about how global warming will affect the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet, or when we talk about how countries that have historically emitted the most carbon have a greater carbon debt than those with smaller carbon footprints, or how polluting industries…

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  • Paddle to the Future

    By Shelley Tanenbaum, QEW General Secretary. You’ve probably heard that saying, “Up a creek without a paddle.” Just a few years ago, when it came to climate change, we were all up a dead-end creek in a leaky little boat without a paddle. Post-Paris and the “historic” Agreement, where are…

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  • Photo of Climate protestors

    A Global Climate Insurgency

    By Bob McGahey After years of fraught negotiations, we have a climate accord. Just getting 195 countries with different, sometimes conflicting, interests to agree was a miracle of sorts. The document breaks new ground by aiming to hold the average temperature rise below 2C, to 1.5C, and reaching…

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  • Group of four people with sign

    In Solidarity with Those at COP21

    By QEW Friends Some QEW Friends weren’t in Paris but were participating in events in their local areas in support of change for the planet. In this section several Friends share their COP21 experiences with you. = = = = = = = = = =  “I…

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  • Group at COP

    Reflections on COP21 and the Paris Negotiations

    By Philip Emmi, QEW-Accredited COP21 Observer How can one describe an event designed to accommodate 40,000 attendees and reach an agreement among 195 countries on how to protect against catastrophic climate disruption? Dante’s circles of Heaven and Hell may be a useful image. The venue was…

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  • People celebrating COP

    The New Climate Agreement: The Real Work Begins Now

    By Lindsey Fielder Cook, QUNO. COP 21 ended on a Saturday night, and on Sunday, I went to the local Quaker Meeting in Paris for worship. I gave thanks for the previous night’s achievement, when nearly 200 countries (except Nicaragua) supported what their representatives described as a “balanced” agreement. After…

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  • Vermont Farm landscape in fall

    Rising to the Challenge: The Transition Movement and People of Faith

    Transitioning Times: An Interview with Ruah Swennerfelt Ruah Swennerfelt, QEW’s former General Secretary, has just published a new book with Quaker Institute for the Future, entitled, Rising to the Challenge: The Transition Movement and People of Faith (QIF Focus Books, 2016). As part of the research for her…

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  • Night Sky By Kathy Barnhart

    For Peace on Earth and Unity with Creation: Recommendations for All Friends

    From the QEW Sustainability: Faith and Action Working Group. Recognizing the urgency of reducing our carbon footprint and living sustainably on the earth, QEW’s Sustainability: Faith and Action working group will be reaching out to all monthly and yearly meetings this year with resources and encouragement to take…

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